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  Reviews by: Ashley Chaplin  

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Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Jun 10, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great sharpness. CA is very well handled and only apparent at the widest focal lengths. Light. Very well built. Great VFM.
It's hard to find any fault. I don't even consider the min aperture of f4 to be a problem.

I originally got the 16-35. What a mistake! Sent it back and got this one. The 17-40 is a very good quality lens and is also a great price. Don't worry about the loss of the stop compared to the 16-35. Full framers will not even notice this and I could think of other lenses that would (I amagine) work better on crop bodies such as the new 17-55 f2.8.

A great lens for full frame cameras. Exceptional sharpness right through the aperture range and focal range. CA and distortion both handled very well with just a little CA at 17mm.

The only gripe I have is that I cannot get a filter system that does not cause vignetting for this lens! I've tried Cokin Xpro and Zpro and took both kits back as the ring adaptor (Xpro) and the filter holder (Zpro) vignette very clearly from 20mm and that's without a skylight. I don't personally like not using a skylight as I'm always paranoid I'll accidentally damage the front element. Also, of course, this lens is not dust tight without one. The best solution I've found so far is a screw in Jessops circular polariser (causes a smidge of vignetting up to 18mm) and grads blue-tacked infront when required. I've not tried Lee filters but they seem to employ a very similar system to Cokin??. Surely someone makes a system that does not vignette on this lens and allows you to keep a skylight filter on??

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

Review Date: Jun 10, 2006 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: It's difficult to say anything positive about my copy except the construction was very solid and focussing very smooth
Shocking CA. Very poor sharpness even at f16.

I got this lens over the 17-40 because I took a gamble that the poor reviews were possibly wrong or that the quality was variable. Hearing that QC had greatly improved I thought I'd be likely to end up with a good copy and so took the plunge.

Well I got a bad one - a very bad one. I'd be fascinated to know if the ones that people rate so highly are significantly better than the one I had or if the reviewers (no offence) are in denial.

Nobody with a full frame camera (like my 1DS2) can justify wasting thier money on this lens for a worthless extra stop. I replaced my 16-35 with the 17-40 and the difference in sharpness blew me away and I walked away with enough spare change to buy a macro lens as well.

My 16-35 was terribly soft at all focal lengths but esp at 16mm. Centre sharpness just never got sharp enough even when at f16 - which wasn't much sharper than at f2.8. CA was truly horrible. So bad at the edges that it was incorrectable in P'shop and so lack of sharpness coupled with the CA effectively rendered high quality landscape shots out of the question. My Dad put it on his 350D and thought his nasty kit lens was better.

I own a 24-70, a 70-200 and now a 17-40. I compared the 16-35 with the low end of my 24-70 and the 24-70 was sharper. Now I compare the 17-40 with my 24-70 and in the matching focal lengths it is sharper than the 24-70. I used to have a non L series 20-35 which I'm sure was better than the 16-35!

If you get a great copy and you love it then good for you but I'd advise all full framers to go for the 17-40 and save yourself some money. I haven't found a single application with the 17-40 where I've missed the extra stop. It simply isn't an issue. If you have a crop sensor, I'd look at the 17-55 f2.8 - it's got to be a better option and its less money.